Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability
Philip B. Gough and William E. Tunmer
To clarify the role of decoding in reading and reading disability, a simple model of reading is proposed, which holds that reading equals the product of decoding and comprehension. It follows that there must be three types of reading disability, resulting from an inability to decode, an inability to comprehend, or both. It is argued that the first is dyslexia, the second hyperlexia, and the third common, or garden variety, reading disability.
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THE ROLE OF decoding in reading and reading dis- ability has long been controversial. On the one hand, some of us (e.g., Fries, 1962; Gough, 1972; Rozin & Gleit-
man, 1977) have maintained that the ability to decode is at the core of reading ability, such that learning to decode is tantamount to learning to read. But others have argued that decoding ability is at most an epiphenomenon, and that instruction in decoding may distort, if not actually im- pede, the acquisition of literacy (e.g., Goodman, 1973; Smith, 1982).
In this paper, we will not try to settle the debate. The issue is surely an empirical one, and it should be settled by experiment, not polemic. We believe that it has not been settled because of some persistent conceptual confusions. Our intent here is to try to state our case more clearly, in the hope that its truth or falsity might be decisively settled by future research.
Thanks to Dr Kerry Hempenstall for providing the following papers via the DDOLL network: 'There is a 2018 special issue of Remedial and Special Education that included the following articles:'
Special Series on the Simple View of Reading from Pre-K to Grade 12 Volume 39 Number 5 September/October 2018
Special Series Editor: Sharon Vaughn, The University of Texas at Austin
Examining the Simple View of Reading With Elementary School Children: Still Simple After All These Years Christopher J. Lonigan, Stephen R. Burgess, and Christopher Schatschneider
“The simple view of reading (SVR) proposes that performance in reading comprehension is the result of decoding and linguistic comprehension, and that each component is necessary but not sufficient for reading comprehension. In this study, the joint and unique predictive influences of decoding and linguistic comprehension for reading comprehension were examined with a group of 757 children in Grades 3 through 5. Children completed multiple measures of each construct, and latent variables were used in all analyses. Overall, the results of our study indicate that (a) the two constructs included in the SVR account for almost all of the variance in reading comprehension, (b) there are developmental trends in the relative importance of the two components, and (c) the two components share substantial predictive variance, which may complicate efforts to substantially improve children’s reading” (p.260)
Lonigan, C.J., Burgess, S.R., & Schatschneider, C. (2018). Examining the Simple View of Reading with elementary school children: Still simple after all these years. Remedial and Special Education, 39(5), 260–273.
Extending the Simple View of Reading to Account for Variation Within Readers and Across Texts: The Complete View of Reading (CVRi) David J. Francis, Paulina A. Kulesz, and Julia S. Benoit
“This study leverages advances in multivariate cross-classified random effects models to extend the Simple View of Reading to account for variation within readers and across texts, allowing for both the personalization of the reading function and the integration of the component skills and text and discourse frameworks for reading research. We illustrate the Complete View of Reading (CVRi) using data from an intensive longitudinal design study with a large sample of typical (N = 648) and struggling readers (N = 865) in middle school and using oral reading fluency as a proxy for comprehension. To illustrate the utility of the CVRi, we present a model with cross-classified random intercepts for students and passages and random slopes for growth, Lexile difficulty, and expository text type at the student level. We highlight differences between typical and struggling readers and differences across students in different grades. The model illustrates that readers develop differently and approach the reading task differently, showing differential impact of text features on their fluency. To be complete, a model of reading must be able to reflect this heterogeneity at the person and passage level, and the CVRi is a step in that direction. Implications for reading interventions and 21st century reading research in the era of “Big Data” and interest in phenotypic characterization are discussed.” (p. 274)
Francis, D.J., Kulesz, P.A., &. Benoit, J.S. (2018). Extending the Simple View of Reading to account for variation within readers and across texts: The Complete View of Reading (CVRi). Remedial and Special Education, 39(5), 274-288.
The Simple View of Reading Across Development: Prediction of Grade 3 Reading Comprehension From Prekindergarten Skills Language and Reading Research Consortium and Y. D. Chiu
“We assessed the simple view of reading as a framework for Grade 3 reading comprehension in two ways. We first confirmed that a structural equation model in which word recognition, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension were assessed by multiple measures to inform each latent construct provided an adequate fit to this model in Grade 3. We next examined how well prekindergarten (pre-K) oral language (vocabulary, grammar, discourse) and code-related (letter and print knowledge, phonological processing) skills predicted Grade 3 reading comprehension, through the two core components of the simple view: word recognition and listening comprehension. Strong relations were evident between pre-K skills and the complementary Grade 3 constructs of listening comprehension and word recognition. Notably, the pre-K latent constructs of oral language and code-related skills were strongly related to each other, with a much weaker (nonsignificant) relation between the complementary Grade 3 constructs of listening comprehension and word recognition.” (p.289)
Language and Reading Research Consortium & Chiu, Y.D. (2018). The Simple View of Reading across development: Prediction of Grade 3 reading comprehension from prekindergarten skills. Remedial and Special Education, 39(5), 289–303.
The Simple View of Reading: Three Assessments of Its Adequacy Wesley A. Hoover and William E. Tunmer
“So what are the main conclusions we can draw from the three studies just reviewed? First, based on the benefits provided by latent variable modeling, the SVR continues to provide a robust description of reading comprehension for children in Grades 3 to 5, with word recognition and language comprehension capturing almost all of the variance in reading comprehension. The small amounts of remaining variance suggest that if there are other factors involved in reading, they will make relatively small contributions as proximal factors, or as distal ones they will likely operate through word recognition or language comprehension. Second, the two main component skills in reading at these later grades are substantially related to such skills in earlier grades, indeed as early as prekindergarten. Third, the contributions of word recognition and language comprehension vary with grade level, with word recognition generally making stronger contributions in the earlier grades and language comprehension in the later grades. Fourth, there are large amounts of shared variance between word recognition and language comprehension, and understanding the source of this overlap has important consequences for thinking about instructional interventions. Finally, there is much more to understand about reading than what is represented in the SVR, and the CVRi provides a promising approach for furthering our understanding through models that accommodate reading skills, their development, and the linguistic parameters of both discourse and text. We note in closing that the idea that reading has two central parts, word recognition and language comprehension, has been around for a very long time, at least since Huey (1908). But thinking about reading as the product of these two parts, and only these two, was the insight Phil Gough brought to the field. His proposal had the elegance of simplicity that made a complex phenomenon easier to understand as a whole. And while it was powerful and had the ring of truth, it possessed an even more critical property – it was falsifiable. The studies we have reviewed here present strong evidence that the SVR continues to withstand rigorous empirical evaluation, providing a strong explanation of what reading is at the broadest level of analysis. And while reading is certainly complex, even as Huey (1908) demonstrated over a century ago, the insight formally expressed in this journal 30 years ago, continues to provide an enduring framework for thinking about this remarkable human feat of reading.” (p.311)
Hoover, W.A., & Tunmer, W.E. (2018). The Simple View of Reading: Three assessments of its adequacy. Remedial and Special Education, 39(5), 304-312
Simple and Not-So-Simple Views of Reading Catherine E. Snow
“Few hypotheses in the field of literacy have proven as robust as the Simple View of Reading (SVR). Two studies included in this special issue use large participant samples and sophisticated quantitative analyses to confirm the basic claim of the SVR, that decoding and listening comprehension together predict reading comprehension. One also demonstrates a developmental shift from decoding to language as the primary predictor after about Grade 3. A third paper challenges the adequacy of the SVR for older readers, offering evidence that the nature of the text being read also must be taken into account in predicting comprehension outcomes. All three studies, though, use rather simple comprehension outcomes. I argue that reader skills in academic language, in perspective taking, and in argumentation are additional important predictors of comprehension when readers are confronted with 21st century literacy tasks, which require analysis, synthesis, and critique, not just literal inferences and summaries.” (p. 313)
Snow, C.E. (2018). Simple and not-so-simple views of reading. Remedial and Special Education, 39(5), 313–316.
The Simple View of Reading: Advancements and False Impressions Hugh W. Catts
“In this article, I highlight the impact that the simple view of reading (SVR) has had on the field of reading over the last 30 years. I argue that the SVR has led to many significant advancements in our understanding of reading comprehension. I also contend that it has contributed to some false impressions concerning comprehension that impact research and practice in important ways.” (p. 317)
Catts, H.W. (2018). The Simple View of Reading: Advancements and false impressions. Remedial and Special Education, 39(5), 317-323.
Some quotes Dr Kerry Hempenstall has collected on the SVR over the years:
“Research conducted in the past indicates that the reading process is the product of at least two components: decoding and comprehension. Gough and Tunmer (1986) have expressed the two-component nature of reading in the form of the mathematical formula R = D x L, where R represents reading, D represents decoding, and L represents linguistic comprehension, with the value of each variable ranging from 0 to 1. It follows then, that if D = 0, R = 0, and if L = 0, then R also = 0. Thus, there can be individuals who cannot read well, but for different reasons. Hoover and Gough (1990) put this hypothesis to test by tracking and assessing 254 English/Spanish bilingual children from Grades 1 through 4. It was found that a substantial proportion of the variance in reading comprehension was accounted for by the product of decoding and listening comprehension (Grade 1 = 0.71; Grade 2 = 0.72; Grade 3 = 0.83; Grade 4 = 0.82). This led them to conclude that "within the illiterate population, the simple view of reading holds that decoding and linguistic comprehension can be dissociated, and, most interestingly, must be dissociated" (p. 154).
Gough, P. B. (1996). How children learn to read and why they fail. Annals of Dyslexia, 46, 3-20.
Hoover, W., & Gough, P.B. (1990). The simple view of reading. Reading and Writing: An Inter-Disciplinary Journal, 2, 127-160.
“The pattern of results was clear across nine cohorts and three grades, totaling more than 425,000 students in all. Well under 1 percent of first- through third-grade students were poor at reading comprehension yet adequate at both decoding and vocabulary. … “Our results are consistent with the simple view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986; Hoover & Gough, 1990) in that nearly all cases of poor reading comprehension were associated with inadequate decoding, oral language (i.e., vocabulary), or both. Our results also support Catts et al.’s (2006) recommendation to use a framework based on the simple view (see Table 1) when assessing and intervening with poor readers. When assessing poor readers, it is important to target oral language and decoding in addition to reading connected text for meaning because students’ poor reading comprehension scores alone are not sufficiently informative for the purposes of remediation. It would be important to identify how much of the poor reading comprehension is attributable to poor decoding and to poor oral language skills such as limited vocabulary knowledge” (p.7, 8).” (p.7, 8).
Spencer, M., Quinn, J. M., & Wagner, R. K. (2014). Specific reading comprehension disability: Major problem, myth, or misnomer? Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 29(1), 3-9. doi: 10.1111/ldrp.12024. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... .12024/pdf
“The present article addresses the development of reading comprehension in a group of children with mixed-aetiology intellectual disabilities. The average levels of reading comprehension, decoding, and listening comprehension that were observed in the participants at an age of 12 years were all comparable to the levels of typical children at an age of 6 years. Their scores on the precursor measures were also below those otherwise expected for children in this age range. The effects of the children’s cognitive limitations on skills related to reading comprehension are thus widespread. The low levels of overall performance that we found are in line with earlier findings (Lemons et al., 2013; Nash & Heath, 2011) and show that general cognitive limitations affect the acquisition and development of reading comprehension on many levels. In line with the simple view of reading (Hoover & Gough, 1990), decoding and listening comprehension were the key precursors of reading comprehension and its development. The stronger contribution of decoding relative to listening comprehension among this group is consistent with the pattern found for early readers without disabilities (Ouellette & Beers, 2010; Vellutino et al., 2007). … foundational literacy skills and nonverbal reasoning exerted an additional, direct effect on the longitudinal reading comprehension of children with intellectual disabilities, over and above decoding, listening comprehension, and prior reading comprehension. The final pattern is very similar to the long-term precursors for reading comprehension that have been found by Fuchs et al. (2012) in children who were poor readers despite a normal intelligence. It seems that the pattern observed in the present analysis is not specific to children with low intelligence but can also be observed in other children who struggle to read.” (p. 330)
van Wingerden, E., Segersa, E., van Balkoma,H., & Verhoevena, L. (2018). Cognitive constraints on the simple view of reading: A longitudinal study in children with intellectual disabilities. Scientific Studies of Reading, 22(4), 321–334.
“As is emphasized by the simple view and interactive models of reading comprehension, oral language is a critical component of reading comprehension. This assertion is supported by the current findings and previous studies (Kendeou et al., 2009; Roth et al., 2002). For instance, two studies included within the present meta-analysis, Catts et al. (2006) and Nation et al. (2004), found that a substantial portion of children who are identified as having specific language impairment (SLI) also have coexisting reading comprehension difficulties. … the findings suggest that children with deficits in critical oral language skills should receive targeted oral language instruction and intervention. Intervention studies focusing specifically on children with SCD have indicated that interventions containing an oral language component are more effective. … Thus, classroom instruction and intervention that incorporate elements that encourage comprehension proficiency, such as reading fluency (NICHD, 2000) and oral language (Snow et al., 1998), will likely be more effective at remediating reading comprehension difficulties.” (p. 21-23)
Spencer, M. &. Wagner, R.J. (2018). The comprehension problems of children with poor reading comprehension despite adequate decoding: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, Online First.
“Pathways of relations of language, cognitive, and literacy skills (i.e., working memory, vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, inference, comprehension monitoring, word reading, and listening comprehension) to reading comprehension were examined by comparing four variations of direct and indirect effects model of reading. Results from 350 English-speaking second graders revealed that language and cognitive component skills had direct and indirect relations to listening comprehension, explaining 86% of variance. Word reading and listening comprehension completely mediated the relations of language and cognitive component skills to reading comprehension and explained virtually all the variance in reading comprehension. Total effects of component skills varied from small to substantial. The findings support the direct and indirect effects model of reading model and indicate that word reading and listening comprehension are upper-level skills that are built on multiple language and cognitive component skills, which have direct and indirect relations among themselves. The results underscore the importance of understanding nature of relations.” (p.310)
Young-Suk, G.K. (2017). Why the Simple View of Reading is not simplistic: Unpacking component skills of reading using a direct and indirect effect model of reading (DIER). Scientific Studies of Reading, 21(4), 310-333.
“In line with the simple view of reading, listening comprehension, and word decoding, together with their interaction and curvilinear effects, explains almost all (96%) variation in early reading comprehension skills. Additionally, listening comprehension was a predictor of both the early and later growth of reading comprehension skills.” (p.1)
“According to the augmented simple view of reading, certain component language skills (e.g., inference making and verbal working memory skills) make a direct contribution to reading comprehension in addition to any role they might play in fostering listening comprehension. In contrast, the simple view of reading posits that these component language skills only affect reading comprehension via their effects on listening comprehension. Contrary to some earlier studies using observed variables (e.g., Geva & Farnia, 2012; Oakhill & Cain, 2012), we found no support for the augmented simple view because the effects of component language skills on reading comprehension were entirely accounted for by their effects on listening comprehension. Similar findings were obtained by Kim (2015), in a concurrent study. We believe measurement error is a likely reason for the discrepancy between our study and many of the prior studies that found differentiated effects of vocabulary, grammar, verbal working memory, and inference skills on reading comprehension skills (see Cole & Preacher, 2014).” (p.14)
“In summary, our findings indicate that multiple language-related skills are involved in listening comprehension, which in turn is a powerful influence on the development of reading comprehension. Our results give very strong support to the simple view of reading and clarify a number of theoretical issues concerning the relationship between oral language and reading comprehension skills. Our findings also have implications for how to prevent and ameliorate reading comprehension problems. First, for children with poor decoding skills, it seems decoding can be a bottleneck for the development of reading comprehension— interventions to improve decoding in those with poor skills can therefore be expected to lead directly to improvements in reading comprehension. Even fairly minimal improvements in decoding for poor decoders may have functionally important implications for reading comprehension for this group. At a more general level, our results suggest that interventions that also focus on a broad set of oral language skills, including grammar, syntax, narrative skills, and inference making are most likely to be effective in helping children to develop adequate reading comprehension skills. There are now a handful of randomized controlled trials that have examined the effects of interventions to improve language comprehension (e.g., Clarke et al., 2010; Fricke, Bowyer-Crane, Haley, Hulme, & Snowling, 2013; Rogde, Melby-Lervag, & Lervag, 2016; see also Melby-Lervag & Lervag, 2014). Several studies support the claim that interventions can improve language comprehension skills in young children (Fricke et al., 2013; Rogde et al., 2016) and improvements in oral language skills appear to lead directly to improvements in reading comprehension both in younger (Fricke et al., 2013) and older children Clarke et al., 2010). Such findings provide strong support for the simple view of reading, and for the causal theory that the development of reading comprehension is dependent on underlying oral language skills.” (p.15)
Lervag, A., Hulme, C., & Melby-Lervag, M. (2017). Unpicking the developmental relationship between oral language skills and reading comprehension: It’s simple, but complex. Child Development, 00(0), 1–18.
“Fluent decoding appears to be an important predictor of reading comprehension across elementary, middle, and high school” (p.463).
Kershaw, S., & Schatschneider, C. (2012). A latent variable approach to the simple view of reading. Reading & Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25(2), 433–464.
“Word recognition. The Word Identification and Word Attack subtests of the WRMT-R (Woodcock, 1987) were administered. The Word Identification subtest measured participants' ability to accurately pronounce printed English words, ranging from high to low frequency of occurrence. Some examples of eighth-grade words are causation, proximity, and judicious. The Word Attack subtest assessed participants' ability to read pronounceable nonwords varying in complexity. Grade-appropriate nonwords include gaked, cigbet, and darlanger. To form a composite score for word recognition, standard scores for these subtests were converted to z scores and combined.
In addition to examining language comprehension, we also investigated subgroup differences in phonological processing. Our results were consistent with those predicted by the phonological deficit hypothesis (Stanovich, 2000). We observed that poor decoders had deficits in phonological awareness (sound deletion and pig Latin) and nonword repetition. Poor comprehenders, on the other hand, had normal phonological processing skills, which were in line with their relative strengths in word recognition.”
Catts, H. W., Adlof, S. M., & Weismer, S. E. (2006). Language deficits in poor comprehenders: A case for the simple view of reading. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(2), 278-293.
“Decoding refers to the ability to translate a sequence of graphemes (letters of written language) into their corresponding representations as phonemes (sounds of spoken language), which are then used to gain access to word meaning in the reader’s memory (Hoover & Tunmer, 1993). To be regarded as skilled decoders, children must be able to read words accurately and fluently (Gough & Tunmer, 1986). Decoding ability is typically measured by asking readers to read a series of pseudowords, which can be decoded using graphemephoneme correspondence knowledge (Gough & Tunmer, 1986; Hoover & Tunmer, 1993). Arguably, the ability to manipulate phonological structures of spoken language (i.e., phonological awareness) will impact on decoding ability (Tunmer & Hoover, 1992).
Tan, K.-H., Wheldall, K., Madelaine, A., & Lee, L. W. (2007). A review of the simple view of reading: Decoding and linguistic comprehension skills of low-progress readers. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 12(1), 19-30.
“Word Recognition score for decoding component of the Simple View was based on the three untimed word recognition and decoding scores WRAT = Wide Range Achievement Test, Woodcock Johnson Word Attack; Woodcock Johnson Word Identification.”
Sabatini, J. P., Sawaki, Y., Shore, J. R., & Scarborough H. S. (2010). Relationships among reading skills of adults with low literacy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43(2), 122-138.
“I can say that most of the seminal research on the Simple View carried out by Philip Gough did largely use pseudoword identification tasks (accuracy) to test the Simple View.
Wren, S. (n.d.).The Simple View of Reading: R=DxC Retrieved from http://www.balancedreading.com/simple.html
”The term decoding refers to the process of translating print to speech by matching the letters, or graphemes, to their sounds, or phonemes. Decoding has been assessed using measures of pseudo-word reading (Chen & Vellutino, 1997; Georgiou, Das, & Hayward, 2009; Hoover & Gough, 1990; Joshi & Aaron, 2000), real-word list reading (Chen & Vellutino, 1997; Dreyer & Katz, 1992), and real-word passage reading (Savage, 2006). These assessments have been shown to correlate strongly but differentially with reading comprehension (Chen & Vellutino, 1997; Dreyer & Katz, 1992; Georgiou et al., 2009; Hoover & Gough, 1990; Joshi & Aaron, 2000; Savage & Wolforth, 2007). For example, Chen and Vellutino (1997) reported correlations between real-word list reading and reading comprehension ranging from .27 to .86, and correlations between pseudo-word reading and reading comprehension ranging from .0 to .71 across grades 2 through 7.
Correlations between various measures of decoding and reading comprehension have also been shown to decrease from roughly .86 to .27 as children progress through elementary and middle school (Catts et al., 2005; Chen & Vellutino, 1997; Gough et al., 1996). Although correlations provide evidence of relationships between the components of reading indicated by Gough and Tunmer (1986), they do not explain how much of the variance in reading comprehension can be accounted for by these predictors. Since the publication of Gough and Tunmer (1986), researchers have utilized a Simple View of Reading model to explain the variance seen in reading comprehension using multiple regression analyses and have yielded mixed results (Chen & Vellutino, 1997; Dreyer & Katz, 1992; Georgiou et al., 2009; Hoover & Gough, 1990; Joshi & Aaron, 2000; Neuhaus, Roldan, Boulware-Gooden, & Swank, 2006; Savage, 2006; Savage & Wolforth, 2007). Although some studies have provided evidence in support of the Simple View of Reading (Chen & Vellutino, 1997; Joshi & Aaron, 2000), several studies have shown that an additive model accounts for significantly more of the variance in reading comprehension than a product model (Dreyer & Katz, 1992; Neuhaus et al., 2006). Still others have shown that a more complicated model that includes both the sum and the product of decoding and linguistic comprehension accounts for the largest amount of variance.”
Kershaw, S., & Schatsneider, C. (2012). A latent variable model approach to the simple view of reading from grades 3-10. Reading and Writing, 25, 433–464.
”Despite its widespread acceptance, it is not entirely clear how to best define these contributing components or what aspects are most relevant across development and varying proficiencies with the written code. Specifically, there appears to be some ambiguity in how the construct of decoding is conceptualized (Kirby & Savage, 2008). …
In many ways, the original choice of the term decoding within the simple view has caused confusion in the interpretation and evaluation of the model. In a strict sense, decoding may be seen as synonymous with serial, grapheme to phoneme conversion. In evaluating a model, it is important that the measures used map onto the construct under study. In this respect, if this is indeed the reading skill specified within the simple view, then non-word reading measures should be implemented in assessment and research to reflect this construct (as has typically been done). It can be argued, however, that Gough and Tunmer’s (1986) definition pertains more to word recognition in general. Beyond serial decoding, word recognition may encompass orthographic learning and recognition (Ehri, 2005; Share, 1995). Once again, the choice of measures becomes relevant: it has been demonstrated that more complete assessment of word recognition (apart from pseudoword decoding) improves the extent to which the simple view of reading may account for variance in reading comprehension (Braze et al., 2007; Johnston & Kirby, 2006). To further explore this possibility and to clarify the roles of distinct reading skills in accounting for reading comprehension, the current research incorporates indicators of both serial decoding (pseudoword reading) and orthographic or visual word recognition (irregular word reading). … The present results speak directly to how the constructs of the simple view are best conceived. Once children acquire word reading proficiency, vocabulary in particular gains relevance and arguably warrants specific mention within the oral language component of the simple view. In the present results, vocabulary predicted reading comprehension in grade 6 even after controlling for listening comprehension. A similar prominent role of oral vocabulary is featured in Verhoeven and van Leeuwe’s (2008) structural equation models from a large sample of Dutch-speaking children and the results of Braze et al. (2007) with reading disabled adults. The present results also apply to how the decoding term of the simple view may best be conceptualized. Like Ouellette (2006), our results demonstrate the importance of assessing both serial decoding and irregular word recognition, as they each made unique contributions to reading comprehension at both grade levels studied. This is in concert with developmental theory that sees a progression in literacy acquisition from serial decoding to visual word recognition through orthographic learning (Ehri, 2005; Share, 1995). While decoding and visual word recognition are closely linked they can be seen as distinct skills in that each contributes to comprehension. In this respect, the use of the term decoding within the simple view may be misleading as in accord with other recent studies, (Braze et al., 2007; Johnston & Kirby, 2006), the present results demonstrate that both serial decoding and visual word recognition are relevant in explaining reading comprehension.”
Ouellette, G. & Beers, A. (2010). A not-so-simple view of reading: How oral vocabulary and visual-word recognition complicate the story. Reading and Writing, 23, 189–208.
“As a model of the proximal causes of individual differences in reading, the SVR was never intended as a complete theory of the cognitive, psychological, and ecological factors that contribute to reading comprehension. D and C themselves can be further analyzed into component processes. For example, C includes the component processes of locating individual words in lexical memory, determining the intended meaning of individual words (most of which are polysemous in English), assigning appropriate syntactic structures to sentences, deriving meaning from individually structured sentences, and building meaningful discourse on the basis of sentential meaning. Moreover, D and C are each influenced directly and indirectly by more distal factors, including cognitive factors such as phonological awareness (Vellutino, Tunmer, Jaccard, & Chen, 2007) as well as psychological and ecological factors (e.g., motivation, cultural background of the reader, home environment). … In conclusion, the findings of our study suggest that although the fundamental two-component structure of the SVR model should remain unchanged, the independent components assumption of the SVR model may need to be relaxed somewhat, as C appears to influence R not only directly but also indirectly through D. These findings have both theoretical and practical implications. Regarding theoretical issues, the findings of the current study combined with those reported by Tunmer and Chapman (2011) provide the basis for resolving differences between the lexical quality (Perfetti, 2007) and phonological processing (Shankweiler, 1999) accounts of reading acquisition and reading disabilities by specifying linkages among the development of oral vocabulary knowledge, phonological processing skills, and word recognition ability. Regarding implications for educational practice, the findings suggest that prevention programs for children at risk of reading failure should focus on improving these children’s oral language skills, especially vocabulary knowledge, as well as their phonological and alphabetic coding skills (Tunmer & Greaney, 2010).” (p.454, 464)
Tunmer, W. E., & Chapman, J. W. (2012). The simple view of reading redux: Vocabulary knowledge and the independent components hypothesis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(5), 453-466.
“The obvious conclusion to draw is that Tunmer and Chapman’s results do not support their assertion that a model with a direct effect from linguistic comprehension to decoding provides a better fit to their data than does the simple view model (see Note 5). A less obvious and more intriguing conclusion arises when we recognize that the simple view model and a model that specifies a direct effect of linguistic comprehension on decoding are equivalent models. As a result, the mountain of evidence that purportedly supports the simple view of reading model provides equivalent support to Tunmer and Chapman’s alterative view that linguistic comprehension affects decoding. If we assert that both models are motivated by reasonable theoretical rationales, more sophisticated designs including both longitudinal developmental studies and intervention studies will be required to differentiate them.” (p.4)
Wagner, R. K., Herrera, S. K., Spencer, M., & Quinn, J. M. (2014). Reconsidering the simple view of reading in an intriguing case of equivalent models: Commentary on Tunmer and Chapman (2012). Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48(2), 115-119.
“In line with the simple view of reading (Hoover & Gough, 1990), decoding and listening comprehension predicted reading comprehension in children with limitations in general cognition. The classic precursors for reading comprehension may not be sufficient, however, because foundational literacy skills and nonverbal reasoning significantly added to our longitudinal model to predict reading comprehension. General cognitive ability, reflected in nonverbal reasoning, may directly contribute to reading comprehension, at least in children with low cognitive abilities. General cognitive ability can thus be seen as a boundary condition for the development of reading comprehension. The longitudinal nature of this finding might indicate that the cognitive advantages and disadvantages that children experience continue to influence their reading development.” (p.332)
van Wingerden, E., Segersa, E., van Balkoma,H., & Verhoevena, L. (2018). Cognitive constraints on the simple view of reading: A longitudinal study in children with intellectual disabilities. Scientific Studies of Reading, 22(4), 321–334.
“The Simple View of Reading overtly acknowledges what research studies suggest to be true: the foundations of word recognition processes and of text comprehension processes are different. It is therefore imperative to develop children’s language comprehension abilities before and alongside the development of their word recognition skills. There is good evidence that reading to children in certain interactive ways (e.g., using dialogic reading) facilitates vocabulary development (see, e.g., Cunningham, 2005; Elley, 1989; Hargrave and Senechal, 2000) and the development of narrative skills (see, e.g., Allor and McCathren, 2003; Heath, 1983; Jordan et al., 2000; Paris and Paris, 2007; Whitehurst et al., 1988). The ways in which parents and caregivers talk with and to children also significantly affect children’s language development in terms of vocabulary, syntax and semantics (see, e.g., de Rivera et al., 2005; Dockrell et al., 2006; Rice andWilcox, 1995; Wasik and Bond, 2001;Wasik et al., 2006). Vocabulary is one of the most consistent predictors of reading comprehension: children with good vocabularies understand texts better, and the predictive relationship between vocabulary and reading comprehension increases through the primary grades (Snow, 2002; Torgesen et al., 1997). However, children can fail to understand texts even when vocabulary knowledge is controlled for (Cain et al., 2004; Erlich and Remond, 1997): language processes beyond the lexical level are clearly involved in text comprehension. Recent research comparing children who are skilled or less skilled comprehenders shows differences between the two groups in listening comprehension, lexical semantics, morphology and syntax (Nation et al., 2004). Skilled comprehenders also do better than less skilled when asked to reassemble scrambled sentences, a further indication that their syntactic and semantic abilities are better developed (Nation and Snowling, 2000). Skilled comprehenders are better able to integrate information from different parts of a text (Markman, 1979), and thus better able to monitor their own comprehension (Hacker, 1997). They are better able to draw inferences necessary to constructing an accurate mental model of the situation described in a text (Cain and Oakhill, 1999). We would like to finish by suggesting that insight into the nature of the difficulties experienced by children who find it hard to understand what they read is essential to developing teaching methods designed to overcome these difficulties. The Simple View of Reading provides a clear conceptual framework within which teachers can organise their thoughts. Teaching word reading skills is relatively easy and, when children are given insight into the alphabetic principle (which they inevitably gain through systematic phonics teaching) and encouraged to use their phonic knowledge to decode unfamiliar words, most children acquire word reading skills very rapidly. Enabling children to understand what they read across a variety of different topics and genres is much more difficult and requires much more in-depth knowledge of processes involved in language comprehension if teachers charged with this important task are to be better able to accomplish it. It is important now to ensure that language development is given the pride of place it requires throughout the foundation, primary and secondary stages of education if we want to ensure that children acquire the reading skills they need to be included in an increasingly complex and technical society.” (p.64)
Stuart, M., Stainthorp, R., & Snowling, M. (2008). Literacy as a complex activity: Deconstructing the simple view of reading. Literacy, 42(2), 59–66.
“The Simple View of Reading (SVR) in Hebrew was tested by administering decoding, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension measures to 1,002 students from Grades 2 to 10 in the northern part of Israel. Results from hierarchical regression analyses supported the SVR in Hebrew with decoding and listening comprehension measures explaining much of the variance in reading comprehension. Further, commonality analyses showed that decoding and listening comprehension contributed differently at different grade levels with decoding generally contributing more at the early grade levels and listening comprehension contributing more at the higher grade levels, which is observed in other alphabetic languages as well. However, unlike in transparent orthographies, such as Spanish and Finnish, decoding seems to play an important role in reading comprehension for a longer period due to the nature of Hebrew orthography of using unpointed script after the fourth-grade level.” (p. 243)
Joshi, R. M., Ji, X., Breznitz, Z., Amiel, M., & Yulia, A. (2015). Validation of the Simple View of Reading in Hebrew—A Semitic language. Scientific Studies of Reading, 19, 243–252.
“Overall, the results of the present study strongly highlight the view that comprehension is a complex cognitive construct, and successful reading comprehension is the result of a confluence of skills: decoding and listening comprehension, as predicted by the simple view of reading , plus (but with a lesser weight and a lesser consistency) oral vocabulary. The present results also indicate that the relationship between these predictors and reading comprehension could vary as a function of the specific task used to assess comprehension. However, because variance large part of variance remains unexplained, further research should also consider the relevance of other potentially important predictors of reading comprehension: especially, working memory  and attention . Otherwise, the results of the present study bear practical implications for at risk populations. The risk of a child developing reading comprehension difficulties is smallest when s/he makes age-appropriate progress in each component skill. More education and training help each child move forward in each skill, and ensure against failure. Given the associations and mutual influence between, decoding, vocabulary skills, listening comprehension and reading comprehension, all of these abilities should be emphasized during children’s reading education. More importantly, while studies in transparent orthographies emphasize the importance of listening comprehension as early as the first grade, our results showed that in low SES French children, decoding was the most important predictor of reading comprehension at the end of the first grade.” (p.7)
Ortiz, M., Folsom, J.S., Al Otaiba, S., Greulich, L., Thomas-Tate, S., & Connor, C.M. (2012). The componential model of reading: predicting first grade reading performance of culturally diverse students from ecological, psychological, and cognitive factors assessed at kindergarten entry. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(5), 406-17.